by Karen Secord

Editor’s note: Karen is a multi-talented force of nature, exceptional freelance writer, and frequent contributor to many Ottawa publications. See all her ‘Food Fights’ posts in the archive, soon to be part of a book or, knowing Karen, a major motion picture. And see her advert at the end of the post ~ she’s looking for new clients.

She also operates ‘Girl In the House: House, Plant & Animal Care while You are Away.’

Karen can be reached for gigs at 613-304-0878, or: writingyou2@gmail.com ]
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I’ve been on a writing hiatus. Simply put, I lost my words. When it happened my world was sunny; a tickly-type breeze pleaded with me to relax, enjoy, interact, converse. . . breathe deeply and smile.

I fancied up my new size 8 body with a series of sexy summer shifts, and stopped worrying about nagging editors with hopelessly arbitrary deadlines. I turned the key on my private vault of words, locking them away. Instead of writing I chose to observe, living in the moment, mindful of each instant and the feelings evoked by every day happenings.

For me, the journey continues with what probably seems to most like an odd solution to self-awareness.

So, this is Act 4:

Lightening the load

Shedding the weight didn’t create the me of my dreams. The bestest me was encased in more than fat. It was buried in mind-numbing excess. First, I became un-stuffed. . . and then stuff-less. No more matching tea towels, raspberry scented candles, flowered china, collected “one day” papers and never-used balls of yarn.

I gave my bed and chairs and shelves and storage hutch to others, those whose eyes lit up when they saw them. I gave up my apartment, told the Almighty Rogers Cable to pull the plug, swept away the cobwebs, and became a gypsy.

Personal adornment aside, I now own nothing. Well, not true. I own me!
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Their unique loveliness

There were two of them among the dozen or so reformed recreational dancers at the Fred Astaire Studio’s dress rehearsal. Their slinky competition dresses — sequined covered-up versions of Dancing with the Stars princess outfits – showed off rounded bellies, thick thighs and rippled behinds perched uneasily on high-heeled suede-bottomed slippers. I was mesmerized by their unique loveliness; a beauty found in unabashed self-confidence; plus-sized Cinderella’s more enticing than all the angled “perfection” in the room. I smiled. I shed a tear for a lost me.
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Send me your freshness

For three summer months I worked at street level; a middle-aged flower pusher seeking to be re-inspired by life; grasping, waiting, believing. My own private dance with a transformed clearer life began right there, in a City of Ottawa booth at the Parkdale Market, surrounded by drama and a lot of fake wholesomeness. Hawking characters were a welcomed, colourful intrusion into a newfound reality. They became my life teachers, an in-you-face reminder of life’s diversity.
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Nothing exists outside the now

“Nothing exists outside the now,” says Eckart Tolle in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. “Nothing ever happens in the past; it happens in the Now. Nothing ever happens in the future; it happens in the Now.”

We were offered a plate of several tastes: apple slice, cube of cheese, raw almond, seedless grape. The Behaviorist instructed the group of us to close our eyes, smell, feel the sensation as we rolled each around in our mouths, bite slowly, chew presently, mindful of the crunchiness, sweetness or stickiness. The Old Habit bubble burst.

For a while now my inner dialogue has been focused on the horrors of me in the past. Me acting out. Me transforming me. Me dreaming of future joyfulness. The me of wishes. . .

“Are you polluting the world or cleaning up the mess?” Tolle continues. “You are responsible for your inner space; nobody else is, just as you are responsible for the planet. As within, so without: If humans clear inner pollution, then they will also seek to create outer pollution.”

Today I am living my truth: travel, social justice, and love are its three pillars. Write on!